Building a world where our investment’s can do good and do well.
The last few years has seen a rise in young investors. This is due to a number of factors, but the pandemic has also been a catalyst for this, as many Millennials and Gen-Z-ers have been the hardest hit from covid-19 in terms of job losses and financial stability.
The start of Extinction Rebellion in 2018 has also harnessed the passionate energy of many of these young people towards tackling climate change and applying pressure on governments to take action.
During this project I sought to combine these seemingly diametrically opposed interests. I started to pose the question; can we do well and do good with our investments?
Tackling a multifaceted challenge
“Our illustrative analysis showed how ‘greening’ an individual’s financial assets, such as savings, could generate 27 times greater improvements in a personal carbon footprint than eating less meat, using public transport, reducing water use, and flying less. This analysis has caused quite a stir and has helped to spark an important conversation.” – Nordea Group, 2015
Those that are conscious of their own environmental impact on the world go to great measures to change our behaviours and consumption habits that have the worst effect on the climate. But do some of us go to these great lengths only for us to overlook that fact our pensions and/or other investments perpetuate the problem of climate change and equality? If so, how can we change this?
Reframing the challenge
To focus on creating a great product which disrupts the investment industry and reshapes capitalism to drive real change I chose to answer the following two questions;
1. How might we make investing appeal to a younger, more diverse and gender neutral target audience?
2. How might we build an app which would allow more people’s investments and pension funds to do good and to do well?
People, Planet, Profit.
Impact investments are investments made with the intention of generating positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
To understand if this idea had legs I put out a survey. With the type of questions I asked – I tried to gauge how interested people are in investing, how conscious they are of their own carbon footprint and how these two marry up.
I recieved 57 responses on this survey from a range of different people and here are some key insights from the survey results (below and right).
- Age: 18 – 30 – 45.6%
- Gender: Male – 64.9%
- have you made an investment: Yes – 80.7%
- How would you usually invest your money?: Online – 77.2%
Types of investments
Investment platforms used
Barriers to the world of investing
Qualities investors look for when make an investment
Designing for humans
Asking the right questions is fundamental to uncovering why and how we interact with certain products. I randomly picked a few survey participants to interview (over zoom, of course) to understand more deeply how they interact with investing.
I then began ideating some feature ideas and selected which ones to bring to life using a prioritization matrix. Some of these features include (although not all made it to the final design); Virtual Investing Tool, An eco alternative to the snow flake analysis, Investment educational resources, Copy Portfolio, Carbon Offsetting tool.
Mapping out the user flows.
I started with sketching out conventional main sections of investment apps (such as; portfolio, performance, search, discover, news feed and the hamburger menu). I then visualised some of the feature ideas to work out how where these fit within the app.
The next step was to map out the user flows so that the app is easy to navigate, delightful to use and allow room for a brand identity to be developed.
Prototyping and testing
Anyone new to the world of investing can get overwhelmed from the sheer amount of jargon, acronyms and misinformation. To make sure that this product doesn’t overload the consumer, user testing became a vital part of the design process. I set tasks for the participant to explore most if not all of the app features to maximise navigation testing.
First off, I built a lo-fidelity prototype in Figma which consisted of an on-boarding flow and the main investment section of the app.
Although, after monitoring the recent GameStop situation, I realised this initial design was optimised for trading rather than investing. I changed the design to suit long term investors looking to create real change with their finances.
User Test 1 (Key Insights)
– Communicate what the app is about with a tagline and illustration on the opening / sign up page.
– Improve visual and text hierarchy: some buttons were confused with body copy and vice versa.
– Improve fidelity and interactivity with adding horizontal and vertical scrolling and slider buttons.
– Certain pages such as Risk needs improved iconography and visual language as some users got stuck with these.
User Test 2 (Key Insights)
– Colour hierarchy not accessible enough as some buttons were missed. Use WebAIM colour contrast checker to improve.
– Button, body, small and bold font need to be bigger as most participants struggled to read.
– Need to rethink schedule deposit page as button placement doesn’t follow logical order and most participants struggled with this.
The outcome was a mobile app with a modern UI design, a memorable brand and slick user experience. The main focus of the platform was to bring impact investing to a younger and more diverse audience than the usual investing ensemble.
This app allows you to choose an investing themes or you can customise your portfolio by adding assets from different impact areas. It allows the investor to track the performance of their assets minute by minute, customise their portfolio and keep up to date with investing using the news feed, etc.